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Magnetron co-sputtering synthesis and nanoindentation studies of nanocrystalline (TiZrHf)x(NbTa)1–x high-entropy alloy thin films

Changjun Cheng1, Xiaofu Zhang2, Michel J. R. Haché1, and Yu Zou1 (✉)


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1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E4, Canada
2 State Key Laboratory of Functional Materials for Informatics, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology and Center for Excellence in Superconducting Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Shanghai 200050, China


Keywords: high-entropy alloys, nanocrystalline alloys, refractory metals, thin films, magnetron co-sputtering, nanoindentation
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Refractory high-entropy alloys (HEAs) possess many useful properties such as high strength and high-temperature stability. So far, most studies on refractory HEAs have been limited to a few well-known compositions and on their coarse-grain bulk forms. Here we fabricate nanocrystalline (TiZrHf)x(NbTa)1−x HEA thin films with a large range of compositions (x = 0.07–0.90) by the direct current (DC) magnetron co-sputtering technique and measure their mechanical properties using the nanoindentation method. All the as-deposited HEA thin films show a solid-solution body-centered cubic (bcc) structure. As the compositional ratio (x) increases, the elastic modulus decreases from 153 to 123 GPa, following the trend of the rule of mixture. As x increases, the hardness first decreases from 6.5 GPa (x = 0.07) to the lowest value (4.6 GPa, x = 0.48) and then increases to the highest value (7.1 GPa, x = 0.90), showing a concave trend. The change in hardness might be attributed to the combinational influence caused by the atomic size and modulus effects, as well as the texture effect. The authors also propose a few open questions for future studies on this and related HEA systems.
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Magnetron co-sputtering synthesis and nanoindentation studies of nanocrystalline (TiZrHf)x(NbTa)1–x high-entropy alloy thin films. Nano Res.

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